FLAMAGRA (FLYING LOTUS)

Released 24th May 2019

Favourite Track: Heroes

So we’ve came down into the boiler room and there’s a Wizard of Oz kind of set up with these huge eyes and someone behind a curtain mixing electronic music. Weird flex but the music kinda bangs.

As someone who is new to Flying Lotus’s music, I was keen to discover what his album Flamagra was all about. Known as an experimental electronic music producer, this made for a change to the RnB and Hip-Hop I had been listening to for these reviews. What had me fascinated was the album cover art. It reminded me very much of the all-seeing, Capitalist, God-like spectacled eyes of Dr T J Eckleburg from The Great Gatsby. As a literature student and lover of Fitzgerald’s novel, I was like YES. Along with this, there seemed to be a lot of pipes and boiler-system looking apparatus with a flame almost erupting from the top of it all. It’s eye-catching and up there with artistic impact of Travis Scott’s Astroworld, in my opinion. 

Image credit: The 405

‘Heroes’ with a cinematic vocal opening and gradual strings and choral effects was a calming entrance to the world of Flamagra, quickly overturned by the quick-paced beat and vocal ad-libs which created a kind of chaotic organised mess. This seems to be the case for much of his music – but it’s this kind of varied music that makes it so interesting. I think it’s the fact that a lot of it is purely instrumental, but add some rapping over it and the songs would have a whole new energy, I’m thinking of ‘Heroes in a Half Shell’ specifically. ‘More’ achieves this and demonstrates the effectiveness of the instrumental music and beats. ‘Say Something’ perfect for a film. It had this very Sherlock Holmes vibes or that of one of those historical dramas. I really liked this song because it showed his versatility as an artist but I would also say the RnB tune of the album is the vocally extravagant ‘Land of Honey’ featuring Solange.  

There are quite a lot of songs on this album so it’s definitely worth a listen because you’re bound to find a song you like. It’s very much for people who like electronic, experimental music that has elements of Funk, RnB and dance music to it. I really like the complicated layers of ‘Takashi’, it’s upbeat music with a repetitive melody and old video game style additions but I do have to confess sometimes the music on this album can be a touch too repetitive. Whilst I appreciate it is a different genre of music from what I usually listen to, I’m still not sure if it’s my kind of thing at all. It’s interesting but I do miss the presence of vocals and rapping here. Just as I was writing this sentence, ‘Yellow Belly’ and ‘Black Balloons Reprise’ featuring Tierra Whack and Denzel Curry comes on and fulfils this need for vocals on top of the music. I have to say the lyrics have me wondering why? because they just seem so random but hey.

This music would be ideal for films but also (and don’t ask me why), household chores because I honestly think it would help me get the job done faster.